Pimsleur method

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The Pimsleur method ( English Pimsleur language learning system ) is a method of language acquisition that the French-American linguist Paul Pimsleur (1928–1972) developed in the United States in the 1960s . In contrast to conventional language lessons, in which the spoken language is taught together with the written language , the Pimsleur method consistently dispenses with the written language in order to enable "organic" language acquisition that follows the principles of mother tongue acquisition. The primary aim of the method is to develop listening and speaking skills; Grammar and syntax are only conveyed implicitly.

Form and spread

The Pimsleur method is an audio-based learning system that is currently being sold in the USA in the form of compact discs by the publisher Simon & Schuster . Each program consists of a number of 30-minute lessons, during which the learner repeats what he has heard, repeats words and sentences from memory or creates his own sentences.

The method is predominantly used in the USA and is mainly used for the languages ​​most frequently studied there - Spanish , French , Italian , German -, but also for non-European languages ​​such as Standard Chinese , Japanese and New Hebrew . Some programs (Spanish, French, Standard Chinese, English as a second language) are also available as (video) versions for children of preschool age.


Although the method quickly enables learners to speak their first words, critics have repeatedly countered that it is not possible to acquire a language comprehensively without explicitly presenting the grammar. Pimsleur students learn grammatical structures implicitly by recognizing recurring patterns themselves; however, compared to a lesson in which grammar is explicitly taught, their grammatical competence falls short. The programs also do not support the acquisition of an extensive vocabulary .

The lack of teaching of the written language was also criticized. Especially in languages ​​with a foreign script (such as Russian or standard Chinese), learners are hardly able to look up words independently or to consult a grammar manual independently of Pimsleur. In the long term, disregarding the etymology of some languages ​​(e.g. standard Chinese) slows down learning .

See also

Web link

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Benny Lewis: Review of Pimsleur method